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Comments and Controversies

Praise for social workers

Vol. 10, No. 03 / March 2011

I am writing concerning Dr. Henry A. Nasrallah’s “Recognizing the unheralded heroes of psychiatry” (From the Editor, Current Psychiatry, December 2010, p. 15-16).

I appreciate the attempt to praise colleagues who often go without recognition, but Dr. Nasrallah omitted a significant group of providers. Clinical social workers make up the largest group of mental health providers in the United States, and often are the only mental health providers in rural areas.1 By neglecting to recognize social workers specifically, Dr. Nasrallah minimizes the importance of the services that we provide. Social workers frequently are forgotten, yet we do at least as much as our physician colleagues, with one-third the pay. Please do not forget us.

Sheri Goodwin
Masters of Social Work Candidate, 2011
Salem State University
Salem, MA
Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Faulkner Hospital
Boston, MA


1. National Association of Social Workers. General fact sheets: social work profession. Available at: Accessed February 9 2011.

Dr. Nasrallah responds

Thanks for reading Current Psychiatry. You certainly were not left out. Even though I did not mention social workers by name, I included them in my list of heroes. Social workers are part of practically every category I listed, such as investigators, clinicians, reviewers of grants and journals, interactive mental health professionals who write letters to the editors (such as you), pro bono practitioners, assertive community treatment team members, teachers, mentors, and advocates for patients and their families. Good mental health care would be unimaginable without social workers!

Henry A. Nasrallah, MD

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